To paraphrase Richard Nixon, we won’t have Matt Staniszewski to kick around anymore.
Last Thursday, all indications had it that Staniszewski, a Washington city councilman, was going to be appointed economic director for New Castle, the city which serves as the county seat for Lawrence County and, like Washington, is struggling to reinvent itself decades after its industrial peak.
Then, hours before New Castle’s council was due to vote on the appointment, the offer was, according to Staniszewski, abruptly withdrawn. And then, to make matters more murky, the council performed an about-face after an executive session at its Thursday night meeting and proceeded to hire Staniszewski for the $65,000 a year job on a 3-2 vote. He was tapped from among a pack of almost 100 applicants and will start Sept. 1.
It seems probable that Staniszewski will have to end his controversial eight-year tenure on council by accepting the job. The New Castle position carries a residency requirement, and, even if it didn’t, commuting 75 miles each way, five days a week, hardly seems practical. He should also withdraw from the November ballot, where he is a candidate for another four-year term.
Though he has been praised by some for his attention to Washington’s public works department, Staniszewski has generated embarrassing headlines for driving under the influence and, earlier this year, using a test of the city’s emergency alert system to announce that “Brian is gay.” Staniszewski said that he was referring to his buddy’s happy-go-lucky disposition, not his sexuality. His explanation was not convincing and made him the butt of jokes by late-night comics.
As he moves into his new role in New Castle, we hope Staniszewski has placed immature antics like these in his past.